Go beyond self-esteem and self-worth

For those who are not really interested in the path of yoga, they don’t need to ‘practice yoga’. People can just live everyday life as they are, don’t need to do anything to purify the mind, to render the mind quiet, to free the mind from the influence of worldly egoistic ideas, thinking, belief, behavior, action and reaction, to free the mind from ignorance and the by-products of ignorance – egoism, impurities, restlessness and suffering.

People can continue being passionate towards improving the quality of a worldly life that mostly emphasize on the gratification of the desires of wants and don’t wants.

From young to old, it’s all about developing and enhancing the qualities of name and form that the thinking mind attached onto and identifies as ‘I’, to carry on or adopt a particular cultural/religious/spiritual belief and practice that influence the way of life, to be ‘educated’, to accumulate ‘knowledge’, ‘skills’ and ‘qualifications’, to empower a high self-esteem and self-worth that builds on personality, confidence, self-image, body image, charm and attractiveness, physical and mental ability and achievement, to be accumulating relationships and friendships, to broadening social networks, to establish a livelihood and a social/community life, to enjoy sights/sounds/tastes/smells/sensations/imagination, to aspire and be inspired, to fall in love, to find a life partner or some lovers, to reprocreate, to build a family, to enjoy easier and more comfortable life, to contribute to the society or the country or the world, to attain acknowledgement, recognition, support, praise and compliments, to attain ‘success’ in life, career and relationship, to attain the sense of existence, purpose, pride, happiness, joyfulness, blessedness, gladness and meaningfulness.

For those who sincerely want to practice yoga and realize yoga, then go beyond a worldly life that emphasizes on developing and enhancing ‘self-esteem’ and ‘self-worth’ that derived from ignorance and egoism that feed on worldly ideas, thinking, beliefs and practice.

The necessity or importance of developing and enhancing ‘self-esteem’, ‘self-worth’, ‘confidence’, ‘self-image’, ‘body image’, ‘charm and attractiveness’, ‘physical and mental ability and achievement’, ‘the sense of existence/purpose/meaningfulness’, and etc, are nothing but the play of ignorance and egoism.

The sense of self-esteem and self-worth that builds on the qualities of names and forms, such as “I know something”, “I can do something”, “I achieved something”, “I am good”, “I look good”, “I feel good”, “I am strong”, “I am healthy”, “I have family and friends”, “I am contributing something”, “I am acknowledged and supported”, “My life/career/relationship is good and meaningful” and so on, is conditional and impermanent. It will break.

Yoga practitioners are supposed to eliminate the egoism and not empowering the egoism. It’s the ego that needs to have a high self-esteem to achieve ‘success’ in life, career and relationship, to attain the sense of existence, acknowledgement, self-worth, confidence, purpose, or meaningfulness. And thus it performs actions out of intention and aspiration. It attached onto and identifies with its actions and the fruit of actions. It is being determined and bound by the actions and the fruit of actions.

For those who are aware of this, actions are being performed out of compassion, without the need/aspiration of ‘developing’ and ‘enhancing’ self-esteem to achieve ‘success’ in life, career and relationship, to attain the sense of existence, acknowledgement, self-worth, confidence, purpose, or meaningfulness. Though that is what most people including highly educated and intelligent minds strongly believe in and are practicing, and that’s their freedom.

“Well done!”

“That’s very good!”

“You should be proud of yourself!”

“I am so proud of you!”

Most people think and believe that all these words are very essential positive encouragement and acknowledgement towards somebody’s achievement to enhance their self-esteem and self-worth, so that they will be motivated to strive harder to improve and be better, to attain continuous positive feedback and acknowledgement, to attain the sense of self-worth, accomplishment, purpose, meaningfulness. And there’s nothing wrong with that.

Those who are free from ignorance and egoism don’t need any ‘positive words of encouragement or acknowledgement’ from anyone to motivate them to perform actions that will benefit all and everyone, and are not disturbed or discouraged by any ‘negative words of discouragement or non-acknowledgement’ to be continuing performing actions that will benefit all and everyone.

‘Yoga teachers’ who truly teach yoga in the yoga class don’t empower the egoism in the yoga students but to allow the students to develop correct understanding and direct experience towards the practice of yoga to eliminate the egoism.

By constantly giving the students ‘positive words of encouragement’ out of “good intention to encourage and motivate the students to be good, do good, to improve and be better” because the teacher thinks and believes that “the students who haven’t developed non-craving and non-attachment would be discouraged or lack of motivation to be good and do good, or to improve in their practice, if the teacher doesn’t give any ‘positive words of encouragement’ to the students”, don’t help to eliminate the egoism, but instead will only be empowering the egoism in the students. And if the students have already developed non-craving and non-attachment towards any kind of ‘positive words of encouragements’, then, ‘positive words of encouragements’ are needless in such yoga classes, as the students don’t need to hear any ‘positive words of encouragements’ to motivate them to be good, do good and to improve, neither the students will be discouraged or lack of motivation to perform their practice, to be good, do good and to improve, if the teacher never give any form of ‘positive words of encouragements.’

Be free.

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Self-esteem and confidence

Any issues regarding self-esteem and confidence shouldn’t and doesn’t need to be existing at all. But due to ignorance and egoism, many people depend on self-esteem and confidence to be who they are, to be happy and feel meaningful, or not. Many people are suffering from mild to severe low self-esteem or low confidence that leads to the sense of meaninglessness and depression. Even many mental and psychological related studies and professionals also preach, think and believe that the development and empowerment of self-esteem and confidence is very important in life existence as human beings and it’s the key to personal and global growth, success and happiness.

Real confidence has nothing to do with self-esteem or confidence that builds on physical appearance, condition, ability and achievement, or mental state, ability and achievement, or desirable and undesirable life experiences, or good and bad relationships with parents, family, friends and the rest of the world. It is beyond all these names and forms, when the mind has gone beyond the identification of what the mind thinks is ‘I’ and ‘my’, where this identification of ‘I’ and ‘my’ with the different qualities of names and forms is just a by-product of the worldly thinking and belief, or family, cultural, social and religious belief.

It’s the ego that feels it has to be good enough for something, or for somebody, or for oneself. It also feels that it might be not good enough for something, or for somebody, or for oneself, based on what the thinking and belief recognize as ‘good’ and ‘good enough’, or what is ‘self-esteem and confidence’, ‘success’, ‘happiness’ and ‘meaningfulness’, and the relationship between them, where most people think and believe that ‘high self-esteem and confidence’ is related to ‘success’, and ‘success’ is related to ‘happiness’, while ‘happiness’ is related to ‘meaningfulness’. And many people are suffering because of this thinking and belief or trying to live up to this thinking and belief for their entire life, and passing this thinking and belief from generation to generation.

It’s the idea of ‘I’, or the ego, that needs to feel good about oneself, and wants other people to perceive oneself as good enough, and needs to attain or possess certain qualities of names and forms to be identifying with, that would make one feels good and proud of oneself and also would make other people feel good and proud of oneself, in order to be happy and live life meaningfully.

And all these qualities of names and forms are impermanent and there is no ‘I’ to be found in any of these names and forms, or to be in control of the impermanent changes, to be the way that ‘I’ like it to be. No matter how much influences we can influence the condition of the physical body and the state of the mind, to maintain the function and the life span of the body and the mind, the body and mind will still have to go through inevitable changes of decay, old age, discomfort, illness, weakness, ceased functioning, and decompose, or death.

Once the mind fully understood this, it will be free from the bondage of self-esteem and confidence. There’s no ‘I’ being good or not good enough. There’s neither high nor low self-esteem. There’s neither high nor low confidence.

One doesn’t need to be somebody with particular appearance, condition, ability or achievement, or have certain good and positive life experiences, or good relationships with anyone, in order to feel confident, happy, satisfied or meaningful.

One can have and appreciate all the attention, affection, support, agreement, acknowledgement, love or companionship that is available in the present, but one doesn’t need other people’s attention, affection, support, agreement, acknowledgement, love or companionship in order to feel confident, love, happy or meaningful. If all these qualities of names and forms are not available, one is still happy and peaceful as one is. One doesn’t feel lack of something or missing out anything, or one is not good enough to deserve love, happiness and meaningfulness.

And that’s real confidence. One doesn’t need to be confident or satisfied about oneself at all. One doesn’t need to feel proud of oneself, and doesn’t need other people to feel proud of oneself, to be ‘I’, or the good ‘I’, the successful ‘I’, the happy ‘I’, the meaningful ‘I’. One is happy and peaceful as one is, without any identification with any quality as ‘I’.

There is no thinking or identification of “I am a good and kind human being. I want to do good and be kind and be able to contribute towards humanity.” but goodness, kindness and contribution towards humanity are being manifested and performed through the body and mind out of wisdom and compassion.

If one doesn’t know this, one will always looking for or craving for attaining and possessing certain qualities of names and forms that one would like to relate oneself with, to be identifying with, to feel good and satisfied about oneself, to boost up one’s self-esteem and confidence to be who ‘I’ am, thinking that by attaining and possessing such qualities of names and forms will also make other people to give them the attention, affection, support, agreement, acknowledgement, love or companionship that they want from other people, in order to be happy and feel meaningful. But then one is not free. And that’s one’s freedom of thinking and action.

Be free.

Confidence? Success? Happiness?

In this world of names and forms, when we talk about happiness, somehow we will relate it to how successful we are in life, which also leads to how confident we are in order to be happy, whether we relate happiness to being successful in life or not…

As what we usually believe in our mind, is that success is very much relate to confidence even though confidence is not a guarantee of success. We believe that confidence is the key to success. But, sometimes, we are not confident at all, but still we are able to be successful in what we want to do, unless we don’t act at all… Sometimes maybe we are very confident, but it doesn’t mean that we will be successful in all the things that we want to do…. Above all, whether we will be successful in what we want to do or not, we still can be confident without being affected by whether we are successful in what we want to do or not…

Confidence doesn’t guarantee success, and success doesn’t guarantee happiness. Why? As long as we identify ourselves with the impure mind and the selfish ego, we will still be affected by ignorance and impurities in our mind, affected by craving and aversion coming from the ego, then no matter how successful we can be, we will still be in miseries, full of fear and worries, anger and hatred, pride and arrogance, dissatisfaction and disappointment. There is no peace. How can there be happiness?

In the untrained mind, usually we will feel good and happy (or confident) when we are able to do what we want to do, or attain what we want to attain, or else, we will be feeling bad and unhappy (or not confident) if we couldn’t do what we want to do, or couldn’t attain what we want to attain… But this is not real happiness. This is just impermanent good feelings that fluctuate according to the qualities of names and forms, or determined by the conditions and abilities of the body and mind…

There is nothing wrong to put some make up on the face or the body, or to wear certain style of clothing, or decorate the face and body with some accessories and ornaments.

Just know that all these qualities of names and forms that we apply onto the face and body, are just some appearances with certain style of image that we try to apply onto this physical body and telling ourselves and the world, “Hey! This is me…”, but it doesn’t determine us for who we really are.

We can allow our ego to enjoy itself by changing the physical appearance through changing how we look and what we wear, but without attaching to the ego to identify as who we are, nor allowing the ego to determine whether we will be happy or not, as confidence, thinking and feelings are “products” derived from the ego attaching to the qualities of names and forms to think and feel good or not. But know that this is just the function of the ego. It is not who we really are.

We are who we are. We are not the ego. The ego is not us.

The ego needs to look good to feel good. The ego needs to be successful to be confident. Our true nature doesn’t need to look good to feel good. Our true nature doesn’t need to be successful to be confident. It is always peaceful and truthful as it is. It doesn’t need to be confident, to think positive, or to feel good.

If we attached to the ego, or identifying with the ego as us, then we will believe or think that we need to depend or rely on how we look, or what we wear, or what we can do and attain, to be confident, to feel good and be happy about ourselves and our life, and we don’t know the unconditional true confidence which is not coming from the physical appearance, physical condition and physical ability, nor determine by how the mind feels whether it is positive or negative feelings. That real confidence is our true nature being aware of the truth of things as they are, and not being determined by all the impermanent changing qualities of names and forms, nor being determined or influenced by the impurities that are arising and passing away in the mind.

The conditional confidence that comes from physical condition, ability and appearance, and which is influenced by the state of mind as well as achievements or success that we could attain in life, is impermanent. It is forever fluctuating and will fade away eventually. It is not real.

How can we hang on to something that is not permanent, not real, to be “somebody” who we identify as who we are, or what we like us to be?

True confidence is a state of being that is being free from ignorance or impurities like doubts, anger, hatred, jealousy, pride, arrogance, dissatisfaction, disappointment, craving, aversion, fear and worry, etc… It is not what we think “confidence” is, which built on how we look, how we feel, what we have, what we know, what we can do, where we are, or who we think we are…

It is only when we are not attached to all these impermanent qualities of the condition and ability of the physical body and its appearance, stop identifying with the ego, stop identifying with the qualities of names and forms, then our whole being will be naturally “confident” as it is, which is unchanging or unmovable. We don’t need anything nor do something to give us confidence. There is nothing can take away this unconditional confidence which is our true nature, because it is the truth, being free form ignorance, doubts or any impurities, uncontaminated by the qualities of names and forms.

That is unconditional confidence that is beyond the qualities of the body and mind…

Realize this and be free, be truly confident as we are, not because who we think we are, or how we look, or how we feel, or what we have, or what we know, or what we can do, or where we are…

I am that I am. I am not this nor that. Without qualities. Fearless. Doubtless. Unconditioned and unlimited by names and forms…

We don’t need to be “pretty”, or “beautiful”, or “slim and fit”, or “strong and flexible”, or “successful”, or “famous and influential”, or “in good health”, or “in good relationships”, or be “positive”, or be “happy”, or be anything that we relate to what we think “confidence” comes from.

Om shanti.